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#31 GordonCooks

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Posted 31 August 2011 - 07:48 PM

Rialto has been around for ages upon ages. It was quite popular for many years. It seemed to have fallen off the radar a bit. It seemed to be coasting for quite a while but at a decent level.

I don't know when your last trip was, but ...

They did renovate the place about 4-5 years ago. They also brought in a new chef-de-cuisine (who used to work on Nantucket, and then with Rick Moonen) about 2 years ago. For whatever reasons, I haven't been there since, but friends have.

That's actually a pretty good option. Thanks.

By the way, you should definitely go back to Rialto (or check out Bondir) this weekend and give us the report ! :)


I was there about a year and half ago, but you never know what transformations occur. The food wasn't as good as Radius the prev evening but just a comfy vibe.
Jazz is musical improvisation; it is the art of the moment. In the recording of jazz, the inspiration and inventiveness of this moment is made permanent by technology, giving pleasure many years after the performance.

Photography is jazz for the eye. - William Claxton

#32 Chambolle

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Posted 31 August 2011 - 10:43 PM

Radius is a good restaurant. Like Rialto, it's been around forever (late 90's I believe) and is off the foodie radar due to that fact. Schlow has talent and Radius does a nice job.

Personally, I like Radius for lunch. It's one of the few restaurants in all of Boston where they actually attempt to cook some "real food" for lunch. (Burgers, fried calamari, sandwiches, etc. is not "real food") And they have nice cheapo lunch option which is what I usually get when I go there.

L'Espalier also does a nice cheapo lunch where they attempt to cook some "real food". I think I had that lunch close to 10 times during two months. Not because it was very good but because it was convenient for me to eat at. The typical Chambo lunch week when in Boston: L'Espalier, Sel de la Terre, Summer Shack, Kashmir buffet on the patio if the weather was permitting (I request what I want, the server scurried down the steps and plated it for me from the buffet, I tip well and tell a couple of jokes, everyone is happy) and then back to L'Espalier. Next week, swap the Parish Cafe or the Otherside Cafe for Kashmir. Next week, repeat and swap in Asana somewhere in the rotation. Next week, swap in Legal Sea Foods. Next week, swap in Brasserie Jo. Maybe toss in a Hammerley's for brunch on Sunday. Next week, if I was feeling wildly adventurous and was willing to invest the transportation time, subway to South Station and have some chow from Schlow at Radius. (That "chow from Schlow" doesn't rhyme by the way. Fooled ya, didn't I ? )

If you would like to keep track of what Michael Schlow, the chef-owner of Radius, is up to, he just opened Tico in the former Cottonwood Cafe space. I had been hearing about Tico for a long time prior to its opening because a buddy of mine was being pressured into investing in the restaurant by his colleague who had already invested. My buddy kept asking me whether he should invest. I asked if he wanted to make a financial or psychological return on this investment. If you want to walk in the joint, be able to say "I own this place!" and receive free food and drink forever, then go for it. However if you wanted to make a financial return, your odds are way better elsewhere. But if you do invest, I'd be happy to join you when you go! :) Low down is that he didn't invest. All this said, I understand that it's doing pretty well. Schlow saw how well Oringer was doing with Coppa and Toro and said "Hey, anything you can do, I can do better!". Tico is yet another small plates place, but a bit more ambitious. It's some weird amalgam of Mexican and other influences. No lack of tequila at this joint. A fun place to meet friends for a drink, maybe:

http://www.ticoboston.com/

#33 GordonCooks

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Posted 01 September 2011 - 06:43 PM

Radius is a good restaurant. Like Rialto, it's been around forever (late 90's I believe) and is off the foodie radar due to that fact. Schlow has talent and Radius does a nice job.

Personally, I like Radius for lunch. It's one of the few restaurants in all of Boston where they actually attempt to cook some "real food" for lunch. (Burgers, fried calamari, sandwiches, etc. is not "real food") And they have nice cheapo lunch option which is what I usually get when I go there.

L'Espalier also does a nice cheapo lunch where they attempt to cook some "real food". I think I had that lunch close to 10 times during two months. Not because it was very good but because it was convenient for me to eat at. The typical Chambo lunch week when in Boston: L'Espalier, Sel de la Terre, Summer Shack, Kashmir buffet on the patio if the weather was permitting (I request what I want, the server scurried down the steps and plated it for me from the buffet, I tip well and tell a couple of jokes, everyone is happy) and then back to L'Espalier. Next week, swap the Parish Cafe or the Otherside Cafe for Kashmir. Next week, repeat and swap in Asana somewhere in the rotation. Next week, swap in Legal Sea Foods. Next week, swap in Brasserie Jo. Maybe toss in a Hammerley's for brunch on Sunday. Next week, if I was feeling wildly adventurous and was willing to invest the transportation time, subway to South Station and have some chow from Schlow at Radius. (That "chow from Schlow" doesn't rhyme by the way. Fooled ya, didn't I ? )

If you would like to keep track of what Michael Schlow, the chef-owner of Radius, is up to, he just opened Tico in the former Cottonwood Cafe space. I had been hearing about Tico for a long time prior to its opening because a buddy of mine was being pressured into investing in the restaurant by his colleague who had already invested. My buddy kept asking me whether he should invest. I asked if he wanted to make a financial or psychological return on this investment. If you want to walk in the joint, be able to say "I own this place!" and receive free food and drink forever, then go for it. However if you wanted to make a financial return, your odds are way better elsewhere. But if you do invest, I'd be happy to join you when you go! :) Low down is that he didn't invest. All this said, I understand that it's doing pretty well. Schlow saw how well Oringer was doing with Coppa and Toro and said "Hey, anything you can do, I can do better!". Tico is yet another small plates place, but a bit more ambitious. It's some weird amalgam of Mexican and other influences. No lack of tequila at this joint. A fun place to meet friends for a drink, maybe:

http://www.ticoboston.com/


Merci!

Tico looks interesting, like Empellon without all the fuss.
Jazz is musical improvisation; it is the art of the moment. In the recording of jazz, the inspiration and inventiveness of this moment is made permanent by technology, giving pleasure many years after the performance.

Photography is jazz for the eye. - William Claxton

#34 Suzanne F

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Posted 03 September 2011 - 06:08 PM

WCR is having its annual conference at the Hyatt in Cambridge in November, and is offering these places for the Dine Around (dinner includes app, main, dessert, wine, tax gratuity; often they do a special tasting menu for us):

$95 Level

Aura / Seaport, Chef Rachel Kline
Bina, Chef Azita Bina-Seibel
Grill 23, Chef Molly Hanson & Jay Murray
Harvest, Chef Mary Dumont
No.9 Park, Chef Barbara Lynch
Oleana, Chef Ana Soturn (4 person max)
Rialto, Chef Jody Adams
Upstairs on the Square, Owners Mary Catherine Deibel & Deborah Hughes

$75 Level

Artu – Beacon Hill, Owner Nancy Pelczar
Artu – North End, Owner Nancy Pelczar
Hungry Mother, Chef Rachel Miller Munzer
Myers and Chang, Chef Joann Chang
Post 390, Chef Molly Hanson & Eric Brennan
The Beehive, Chef Rebecca Newell Butters
Sam’s, Owner Esti Parson
Sweet Cheeks, Chef Tiffani Fasion


Any thoughts? I ate at Rialto the last time conference was there, but that was many years ago.

the people who flock to dine at the restaurant on account of its reputation/stars are getting their money's worth because what they are after is a piece of the reputation/stars and nothing else. their money is not wasted. -- mongo jones, 11/5/2014

 

notorious stickler -- NY Times
deeply annoying and nitpicking -- Molly O'Neill, One Big Table


#35 GordonCooks

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Posted 06 September 2011 - 11:35 AM

WCR is having its annual conference at the Hyatt in Cambridge in November, and is offering these places for the Dine Around (dinner includes app, main, dessert, wine, tax gratuity; often they do a special tasting menu for us):

$95 Level

Aura / Seaport, Chef Rachel Kline
Bina, Chef Azita Bina-Seibel
Grill 23, Chef Molly Hanson & Jay Murray
Harvest, Chef Mary Dumont
No.9 Park, Chef Barbara Lynch
Oleana, Chef Ana Soturn (4 person max)
Rialto, Chef Jody Adams
Upstairs on the Square, Owners Mary Catherine Deibel & Deborah Hughes

$75 Level

Artu – Beacon Hill, Owner Nancy Pelczar
Artu – North End, Owner Nancy Pelczar
Hungry Mother, Chef Rachel Miller Munzer
Myers and Chang, Chef Joann Chang
Post 390, Chef Molly Hanson & Eric Brennan
The Beehive, Chef Rebecca Newell Butters
Sam’s, Owner Esti Parson
Sweet Cheeks, Chef Tiffani Fasion


Any thoughts? I ate at Rialto the last time conference was there, but that was many years ago.


My .02, Rialto will always be a good choice given Jody Adams and 9 Park as well.
Jazz is musical improvisation; it is the art of the moment. In the recording of jazz, the inspiration and inventiveness of this moment is made permanent by technology, giving pleasure many years after the performance.

Photography is jazz for the eye. - William Claxton

#36 GordonCooks

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Posted 06 September 2011 - 12:05 PM

So this trip, bits and pieces.

Relaxing drinks at the Taj bar

Abe & Louis. Great wine list with very friendly big city markups. Mundane Caprese, Excellent Tartares (Steak and Tuna), average oysters, good Filet mignon.

Russell House Tavern. Mundane wine list, great cocktail list, crab cakes, caesar, arctic char, meh…but deviled eggs, mm’mm.

Sonsie’s on Newbury. Boston’s version of DaSilvano.

Summer Shack. Good Wine list with average markups, excellent fried bits (rock shrimp, clams, onion strips, fries), very good lobster roll, and good grilled whole lobster, but maybe the worst cole slaw in North America.

Emack & Bolio’s Ice Cream. Very good and nice people.

One of those trips where we ate wherever we were.

PS - Life Alive - a vegan, health food spot. Great lunch before we headed back on Labor Day.
Jazz is musical improvisation; it is the art of the moment. In the recording of jazz, the inspiration and inventiveness of this moment is made permanent by technology, giving pleasure many years after the performance.

Photography is jazz for the eye. - William Claxton

#37 Chambolle

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Posted 08 September 2011 - 05:24 PM

Toro for dinner. (Bondir was full)

Went with a couple of friends - one of whom says that the restaurant is in his rotation. We sit down. We are all holding the tiny flickering flame from the votive candles right next to the menu in an attempt to read the small print in the darkish room. As I'm looking over my choices, I ask ...

"So how many times have you eaten here?"
"Lots."
"How many is lots?"
"Lots is lots. Fifty plus."

I put the food menu down.

"Oh good. Let's divide and conquer. Just order food for the table. I hereby elect myself chief operating officer of wine."

I pick up the wine list. One page, two sides, small print, mostly Spanish - pretty good, very appropriate for the place, all prices points represented. Chambo likes.

The other friend speaks up: "What am I in charge of? This divide and conquer stuff seems to have left me with nothing to do."

"Correct. You can eat and drink our fine work."
"Okay. Sounds good."

Small plates start arriving. And arriving. And arriving. The chief operating officer of food asks "You think you want more?". Chambo: "Sure." More plates arrive. He asks again. Chambo: "Sure." Repeat one more time.

It's a decent fun place. I'd consider returning when I'm in that fun small plates mood. I had a few tasty bites but quite a few so so bites. Foodwise, NYC's Casa Mono is much better, more ambitious / serious, but it's also a smaller place. And Toro is bigger and better than its sibling Coppa in the South End (of Boston). But at the end of the day: Toro is Spain, Coppa is Italy - choose accordingly.

Re wine, we started with the "2006 Domino Do Bibei "Lalama" Mencia (Ribera Sacra)". Their misspelling - it should be "Dominio". Anyway, it's a nice food wine in a round, lush, full style. The wine list also had the 2009 D Ventura Vina Caneiro on it (for $59 - not bad, eh? - compare that to NYC's Aldea at $90) and I naturally inquired about them both. The wine-person (named Jen, sommelier is too formal a word for this place) said that she doesn't like the way this vintage of Vina Caneiro is drinking and said "go with the Lalama". We did and she was right. How about that - a useful, knowledgable sommelier at a place that doesn't even have a sommelier. Chambo likes. For the next bottle, I thought that I'd give her some runway and asked her: "What comes next? Give me two choices." Choice number one is offered up immediately with a nice and intriguing description. She's scratching her head on choice number 2. Tick tock, tick tock. Tick ... Chambo interrupts: "Let's go with that first one that you recommended." We did and she was heading in the correct direction. A bigger wine, but a bit too massive and syrupy for my personal taste. She did carafe it. We would have been better off to order it when we ordered the first wine and have carafed it then. Live and learn. It was the "2005 Bodegas Leda "Leda" Tempranillo (Castilla y Leon)". The winemaker is Mariano Garcia. He was the winemaker at Vega Secilia for decades.

After dinner, we had a drink at the Red Lantern. I had a marg. Eh, like I said, it's a 21st century Buddha Bar, as if the world needs that. But oh my, quelles bustieres they wear! The women working there have their well-endowed mammaries squeezed tight, left to right, and aimed skyward. And the gals working there last night were pretty darn hot, in that slightly sleezy, dirty way. Chambo likes (not really).

After the lantern, we checked out Tico for a nightcap. Yep, another marg. Place was pretty dead but we arrived pretty late. Naturally, a Tico nightcap includes a bunch of tacos. We ordered the beef and the pork, for sure. I think others but that part of the evening is oh-so-slightly hazy. During dinner, the tacos are $10 or so for 2 of them. Late night, they were $5 and at $5 and seriously sloshed, Chambo likes.

#38 Chambolle

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Posted 09 September 2011 - 05:24 AM

Tonight was Bondir. Just go. You won't regret it. It's a mouthfuls kind of place.

#39 Chambolle

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Posted 09 September 2011 - 05:34 AM

Nightcap at Tangierino in Charlestown. We actually went to the downstairs Koullshi Lounge.

The chief operating officer of wine (that's Chambo!) and his dining companion powwowwed with the chief operating officer of food and his smoking hot better half. Powwowing included puffing on cigars and solving the world's problems while staring at undulating bellybuttons. Please note: no hookahs were involved.

http://www.tangierino.com/

#40 Adrian

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Posted 09 September 2011 - 01:52 PM

Good to hear that Bondir is worthwhile, but Chambo, what is your cab bill with all those night caps? South End to Back Bay? Inman to Charlestown? They have bars in Cambridge you know.

I think you need to interpret what I'm saying in a reasonable way.


#41 FoodDabbler

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Posted 10 September 2011 - 04:26 AM

WCR is having its annual conference at the Hyatt in Cambridge in November, and is offering these places for the Dine Around (dinner includes app, main, dessert, wine, tax gratuity; often they do a special tasting menu for us):

$95 Level

Aura / Seaport, Chef Rachel Kline
Bina, Chef Azita Bina-Seibel
Grill 23, Chef Molly Hanson & Jay Murray
Harvest, Chef Mary Dumont
No.9 Park, Chef Barbara Lynch
Oleana, Chef Ana Soturn (4 person max)
Rialto, Chef Jody Adams
Upstairs on the Square, Owners Mary Catherine Deibel & Deborah Hughes

$75 Level

Artu – Beacon Hill, Owner Nancy Pelczar
Artu – North End, Owner Nancy Pelczar
Hungry Mother, Chef Rachel Miller Munzer
Myers and Chang, Chef Joann Chang
Post 390, Chef Molly Hanson & Eric Brennan
The Beehive, Chef Rebecca Newell Butters
Sam’s, Owner Esti Parson
Sweet Cheeks, Chef Tiffani Fasion


Any thoughts? I ate at Rialto the last time conference was there, but that was many years ago.

Given your notoriety, let me comment:

I've eaten at all but Grill 23 and Aura at your $95 level. I like Oleana the most.
The execution is not always perfect, but the concepts are always interesting.
You must go there with a mind open to the combinations the chef is attempting
and a willingness to sit in your neighbor's lap. It's not a gracious space. I know
you're wary of Chowhound, but there's a recent thread there on Oleana (and
my comparisons of it to NYC) that you may find worthwhile.

At your lower level, I've only eaten at the first three. Artu is odd. My wife and
I stumbled upon it in 1992, and we were excited by the perfection of the food.
They did straightforward things (roast chicken, riced potatoes) but they did them
beautifully. Then they were discovered and they responded by going downhill.
Nothing we ate there was ever bad, but nothing was particularly good anymore.
We haven't eaten there in three years.

Hungry Mother was splendid the first time we ate there, but only adequate the next
few times. We go there, anyway, because they're near a movie theatre we love,
and they'll get you $6 tickets. As my wife says, it makes sense: to save $12 on two
tickets, we spend $200 on dinner and drinks.

#42 Chambolle

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Posted 10 September 2011 - 11:56 AM

... 1. but Chambo, what is your cab bill with all those night caps? ... 2. They have bars in Cambridge you know.

1. Substantially less than my wine and alcohol bill.

2. Yeah? So? But my friends were not in those bars in Cambridge. I hang out with friends, not in bars.

#43 Chambolle

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Posted 10 September 2011 - 01:08 PM

Neptune Oyster for lunch.

A Dozen Oysters (Island Creek, Katama Bay, Glidden Point, East Beach Blonde, Kumamoto ...)
A Hamachi Ceviche (jalapeno-lime vinaigrette ...)
A Maine Lobster roll (cold with mayo ... good fries)
A Couple Glasses of Muscadet (a reasonable wine list at reasonable prices)
A Hundred Dollars Later (how did that happen ?) and now it's time to tip

Everything was very good. I have no complaints. I liked the place.

I ordered too much because I didn't realize how big that hamachi ceviche dish was - numerous, big, thick slabs of hamachi (think of a 1/4" sliced pork tenderloin) that are piled high (think Alfred Portale high, think leaning Tower of Pisa high) and sitting upon and drizzled with a bright, green, thick, plentiful jalapeno-lime vinaigrette (think nice, spicy kick!) sprinkled with some microgreens. This dish is better for sharing.

But let's call this place out for what it is. It's a Pearl Oyster Bar or an Ed's Lobster Bar done right. Nothing more, nothing less.

And there is nothing wrong with that. One is absolutely in the mood for this sort of thing from time to time. It's great for Boston to have a place like this operating at a high level.

But, come on now, this ain't "dining". It's eating.

#44 Suzanne F

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Posted 10 September 2011 - 03:13 PM

FoodDabbler: not sure what you mean by "notoriety" (should I be pleased or annoyed? :lol: ), but thanks very much for the response. (What I am wary about on CH is the high noise-to-signal ratio. And the difficulty of reading the site. I let Lex be my filter. :P )

I would be very happy if I get Oleana (we just pick a price; someone assigns groups). I loved the stuff I had at Sofra Bakery a couple of years ago. And really, I am pretty easygoing about food. :)

the people who flock to dine at the restaurant on account of its reputation/stars are getting their money's worth because what they are after is a piece of the reputation/stars and nothing else. their money is not wasted. -- mongo jones, 11/5/2014

 

notorious stickler -- NY Times
deeply annoying and nitpicking -- Molly O'Neill, One Big Table


#45 FoodDabbler

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Posted 10 September 2011 - 04:21 PM

I was only alluding to your signature line. (Plus, I remember the post in
which you said you'd taken your own scales to a street fruit stand.)

I know what you mean about noise on CH. The thread I mentioned
is short and has specific Oleana suggestions. If you liked Sofra you'll
certainly like Oleana.